Monday, December 10, 2007

Gift Certificates...not as thoughtless as they seem.

I came across an article today that made an interesting point about how people are dealing with ticking off endless lists of ‘Xmas presents to buy’. A lot of us it seems are using gift certificates.

However, Judith Martin (known to millions as Miss Manners…apparently) dismisses gift certificates (and, by extension, gift cards) as "a pathetic compromise convenient to people who do not trust their judgment about selecting the right present for those whose tastes they ought to know."

Well bully for you Miss Manners, but I think that labelling people who send gift cards as dithering fools who can’t be bothered to empathise with their loved one’s is a bit harsh. What you seem to be forgetting is that a good percentage of the people who are tasked with buying gifts happen to be men.

What happened to that old axiom that ‘it’s the thought that counts’? We blokes have relied on that for years! For men, gift tokens are a welcome addition to a growing list of presents that we don’t have to think about too hard and yet still get heaps of appreciatiation for from girlfriends and family. Take flowers as an example. We go to the shop, grab a bunch of something bright and smelly and hey presto, we’re transformed into romantic heroes. You’d think that we’d scoured the Amazon, wrestled snakes and been chased by little men in skirts before picking the last orchid in the canopy. Chocolates for Grandma, another no brainer. Any Play Station game for the kids, although this is effectively a gift certificate anyway because you can guarantee that it’ll be exchanged within days for something rated 18. All these gifts have one thing in common; they have been developed by men over generations as the ideal, thoughtless gesture most likely to be received with kisses and hugs.

But it didn’t come easy this knowledge. Men through the decades have suffered slapped faces and endured cold lonely nights in the spare room as they searched for the ultimate in repeatable gestures. Just be thankful that ‘clothes iron’ and ‘washing up gloves’ did get struck from the list sometime in the early 1940’s. As for gift certificates Miss Manners, please leave my generation’s contribution in tact.

There again, if you really are against them and you’re looking for something hip and heartfelt, why not a copy of Recycling Jimmy or any of the other utterly brilliant Kunati titles………

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